LaCava, Dipoto, or Ng (or Zduriencik)

Dave · October 16, 2008 at 5:19 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Woodfork, Bernazard, and the internals have been eliminated from the GM search, according to Baker and Stone. LaCava and Dipoto are apparently in Seattle for a second interview, and Ng will have hers shortly, now that LA is out of the playoffs.

Smart money is on LaCava. He’s the most experienced of the three, is very tight with Bob Fontaine, and has a great reputation with people who Armstrong is taking advice from. I wouldn’t be surprised if the M’s were introducing LaCava as their new GM early next week.

Baker adds that Jack Zduriencik is the fourth candidate, who didn’t come out in the prior reports because he interviewed Monday, after Milwaukee got eliminated. He’s a tremendous scouting director, responsible for most of the talent the Brewers currently have, but is less statistically inclined than the other three. I wouldn’t be unhappy with Zduriencik, but probably prefer LaCava.


62 Responses to “LaCava, Dipoto, or Ng (or Zduriencik)”

  1. msb on October 17th, 2008 11:15 am

    Baker enters the “higher education for GMs” discussion

  2. The Ancient Mariner on October 17th, 2008 11:47 am

    Graham: true. On the other hand, there’s no reason to assume that LaCava’s average. Indeed, given his track record, I’m not sure there’s justification for that assumption.

    metz123: the key is whether LaCava is weak, and how good a judge he is of people. We don’t need to hire someone brilliant; we need to hire someone who knows how to identify the brilliant people and get them to work together to produce brilliant results. Sometimes, brilliant people can do that; in my experience, more often, they can’t. If LaCava can, if he has the sort of judgment and people skills necessary to do that, then he’ll do well; and you can’t tell that from looking at the “Education” line on his CV.

  3. Dave on October 17th, 2008 11:47 am

    I think you mean “some other writer”.

  4. joser on October 17th, 2008 11:58 am

    Did anybody else catch the dweeb in the booth at the Phillies clincher, extolling the virtues of Gillick, saying basically that all his teams were winners when he was there, and steaming craters thereafter. Which means he’s awesome. I played it back three times on my DVR. Amazing.

    Yeah, that was McCarver, though Buck was chiming in to agree. I know, I was yelling at the TV too, about guys who trade away young talent and throw away draft picks (ie the opposite to how the Rays got built) and guys who know how to scorch-earth their farm system and then get out before the house catches fire.

    I firmly believe that weak managers hire people just like them or less intelligent than they are to establish a position of superiority.

    Weak managers fail in a variety of ways, and fail to hire the right people for a variety of reasons. The biggest problem I’ve seen is people who don’t have a accurate evaluation of themselves, making them unable to hire assistants who complement their abilities and shore up their weaknesses. This can be the result of insecurity, ego, or just a failure of introspection. These people tend to hire people just like them, or people who always defer to them (“yes men”) and so never get a real diversity of opinion or have their assumptions challenged. Which is fine if everything happens to be going their way, but results in the same mistakes being made over and over again when it isn’t. (Sound familiar?) Note that a middling-intelligence guy who realizes he’s of middling intelligence and isn’t afraid to hire smarter people who might not agree with him is often a better choice than a really smart guy who has never taken accurate stock of his limitations (or doesn’t think he has any).

  5. metz123 on October 17th, 2008 12:58 pm

    So, I put Lincoln and Armstrong in the hiring role. I hope they can hire someone smarter than themselves to build an organization. I guess I can also hope that they hire a GM that hires smarter people than himself to build a great organization. That’s a valid point.

    However, in reading the articles and interviews about our 3 guy GM candidates I get the impression that they aren’t organization building guys. Instead they are being hired for their personal abilities to evaluate talent (their scouting backgrounds) and their interpersonal skills (get along with media).

    I look at a baseball team like a corporation. I see the Lincoln and Armstrong as the CEO and Chairman of the board. Their job is to set the overall direction. I see the GM as the guy who builds the management team that manages down and drives the corporate objectives. Now, baseball is funny in that it’s a big revenue operation but you don’t have a lot of employees (relative to revenue).

    I prefer my GM to spend his time driving his direct reports to meet their objectives (scouting director, contracts, minor leagues, technology, etc). I don’t think I want him playing the role of individual contributor. Sure, I want the GM to make the final decisions on personnel because he knows more about baseball than Armstrong or Lincoln but I don’t think I want him to be making the decision on drafting Strasburg because he watched him personally throw a wicked slider in March of 2008.

    This is probably pretty muddled thinking and poorly communicated but it’s just my thoughts on the slate of candidates they’ve put together (outside Ng, who I think is an organization builder).

    As far as my thoughts on candidates they should be looking at? The Rays sure look good for hiring Andrew Friedman who was an analyst at Bear Sterns and another firm before joining the Rays. If a team like Tampa can pluck what appears to be a talent like Friedman from outside of baseball, why do the M’s have 3 “baseball” guys in their final 4?

  6. markro on October 17th, 2008 1:00 pm

    According to Baker the potential Mariner GMs have the following educational backgrounds:

    Zduriencik: Bachelor’s degree in education from California University of Pennsylvania; Masters degree in Physical Education from Austin Peay University

    LaCava: Associates degree from Gulf Coast Community College; transferred to University of Pittsburgh, but left after two years to pursue a pro baseball career

    DiPoto: Attended Virginia Commonwealth University before being drafted by the Cleveland Indians

    Ng: Bachelor’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago

  7. Breadbaker on October 17th, 2008 1:03 pm

    I also heard the McCarver remark and immediately turned to my wife and said, “That’s hardly a recommendation for Gillick.” So he left nothing behind in Toronto, Baltimore or Seattle. The Phillies better at least win this World Series.

  8. msb on October 17th, 2008 1:15 pm

    If a team like Tampa can pluck what appears to be a talent like Friedman from outside of baseball, why do the M’s have 3 “baseball” guys in their final 4?

    FWIW, it was Stuart Sternberg, Rays principal owner (and former Wall Street trader) who hired Friedman, who’d attended Tulane University on a baseball scholarship.

  9. Evan on October 17th, 2008 1:46 pm

    Ng: Bachelor’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago

    Ng just jumped to the top of my list. An econ degree from Chicago would be better, but I’ll take public policy.

  10. msb on October 17th, 2008 7:30 pm

    oh, and Sternberg put Friedman into the FO with Gerry Hunsicker (BA in Education) — former coach, scout, baseball lifer …

  11. filthyfred on October 18th, 2008 3:36 pm

    haven’t heard this anywhere,so i thought i’d pass it on.

    seems woodfork removed himself from consideration.
    not liking what he heard at his interview…?

  12. msb on October 18th, 2008 5:19 pm

    it was discussed above and in “Power structures and the GM hunt” …

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